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Nancy Eleanor Norton Chapline
Nov. 8, 1943 – Mar. 24, 2017
Well, as they say in the movies, if you are reading this I am gone. I wanted to write my own obituary because no one else knows what I want remembered about my life.
My husband Scott and I met when he was 17 and I was 15. We have been together ever since. We married while at O.U. He went into the Army and we spent two wonderful years in France. When we came home he started his career as a CPA specializing in petroleum accounting and I started our family.
During the years we were raising our children I taught drama at Casady School. I loved my classes and the plays we presented. I loved that my own children had talent in my field. It was so much fun to see them perform on the stage where I worked.
When I stopped teaching drama I moved on to the Okla. City Zoo where I was a teaching docent. It was pure teaching, no parents or grades to worry about, just the joy of presenting fascinating information to students of all ages. I still miss the wonderful animals I was privileged to work with, especially Blossom the Possum and her daughter Petal. I never met an animal I didn’t love and most of them returned the favor.
My animals have been a huge part of my life. I know my friends and family got tired of me saying “1 have to get home to take care of the dogs.” They probably thought the pets came first with me, and sometimes they were right. But most of the time the things that came first were my family and friends.
My parents, Ed and Esther Norton, have been gone a long time but I still started to phone them once in a while before I remembered. We were lucky to find a special family with “The Neighbors” on 115th Street. We all loved each others’ children and took care of them as they wandered from house to house. Even now, 40 plus years later, we still get together with our friends, their children, and now grandchildren. Thank you all for filling the space so my children never noticed that they had no aunts or uncles.
To my other long time friends, Karen and Charlie, Carolyn and Richard, Sally, the four who have gone before and who I miss more than I can say, and especially Bill and Julie, thank you for sharing your lives with us. Julie, thank you for taking care of me while I was ill. I know you thought you were repaying a favor, but favors don’t have to be repaid between people who love each other.
I was lucky to have wonderful cousins. Lee Houser and her large and loving family. Lee truly was the sister I never had and even though we never lived in the same town, it didn’t matter at all. My cousin Barbara Mohney and her husband Rich, and my cousin Jan Pfaff and her husband Dick, you don’t have to see each other all the time to care.
To my wonderful children, I have always been so proud of you and the terrific things you have both accomplished. Not to mention that you are brilliant and gorgeous, attributes for which I take full credit. (Sorry, Scott) Who would have thought that I would get to say “my son the professor?” You also had the good sense to marry well. Kent, you and Jana have handled challenges with grace and love and have two tremendous children to show for it. Emily Margaret, I love you. Keep writing. You are so talented. Keep up the good work. Thank you for sharing your love of theatre with me. It always made me proud and happy. My sweet Blake Edward, if you decide to be a vet you will be a great one. You love animals as much as I do and any animal would be lucky to have you as their doctor.
Amy, if someone had told me that you would marry a career Army officer who would rise to Colonel (so far) and be deployed 6 times in 22 years, I would have laughed in their face. And yet here you are, helping to save soldiers’ lives, help their families, raise your three fabulous children and take over (sorry) all the volunteer work in their schools. You have sailed through Eric’s deployments with grace and moved every two years with yet more grace. I couldn’t have done it. Thank goodness you could. The Heist family is in very good hands.
Declan Michael, I am so glad you are carrying on the family business. Keep working on that beautiful voice. It’s so easy to focus on how bright you are but my favorite quality of yours is your sense of humor. You can make everything fun and that’s a great gift. I know you will continue to be the caring big brother you have always been, Thomas and Ella are lucky to have such a great example ahead of them. Thanks for letting me separate the Legos. What fun I had. Thomas Ian, “my Thomas.” Ever since you all lived with Babah and me when you were a baby and your daddy was deployed you have been “my Thomas.” You are the kindest person I have ever known. You always put others before yourself. It is a rare and lovely trait. Add that to that jumbo brain of yours and you just might turn the world into a kinder, gentler place. Eleanor Elizabeth (Ella), with the gorgeous sproings and the best mind in the entire family. I would not have thought that anyone could have turned out to be brighter than your brothers and cousins and yet here you are. I wish I could see what you are going to do with your life. I know it will be amazing. Remember your Nana loved you very much.
To all my grandchildren, you have been the light of my life. I adore all of your parents but grandchildren are children squared. Not only do I love you for who you are, but I love you because you are theirs. Someday you, and they, will understand.
My darling Scott, everything I have mentioned has been possible because of you. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful, productive, and happy life. I would (and wish I could) do it all over again.
I love you.
The Memorial Service for Nancy will be a private event. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to one of Nancy’s favorite animal-welfare charities: the ASPCA, Wild Care, or Free to Live.
Kirstin Reynolds says
I stumbled across Nancy’s message while making a decision about selecting a cremation location for my mother. (Pre-planning – she is 94 years old and in palliative hospice care.) It caught my eye because of her vivacious picture and the first few lines said she wrote it herself. I, too, am an animal lover and enjoyed reading about her love for animals, and I’m also a retired ballet dancer/teacher so her love of the arts resonated with me as well. What a fantastic person she must have been….makes me sorry that I didn’t know her in life. I’m sure I would’ve liked her very much!
Sending you love and light, and wishing you the peace that comes with the passing of time. We are all here such a short time really, and it’s so important to do and be the best that we can for all people; and especially to let the people we love know that we love them. That message came through beautifully from Nancy.
May you be comforted with wonderful memories,